UK GOVERNMENT FORCES SCOTS COUNCILS TO ACT “BLINDFOLDED”

8th January 2020

“PROFOUND CONSEQUENCES” FOR LOCAL SERVICES AS SCOTLAND IS “AFTERTHOUGHT”

Marion Fellows, the SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has this week criticised the UK Government for forcing Scottish councils to set tax rates “blindfolded” after a four-month delay to the UK budget and voiced concerns for services in North Lanarkshire.

Scottish councils are legally required to set their budgets and tax rates by the 11th of March – the same day the UK Government decides their budget meaning councils won’t know how much funding they should receive.

This will cause Scottish local authorities issues with financial planning and operating services and will force the Scottish Parliament to decide its budget in a shorter than usual time period.

Scottish Government Ministers weren’t notified of the UK Government’s budget day and found out after it was announced in the media. This is despite the Scottish Finance Secretary, Derek MacKay MSP, writing to the UK Chancellor on the 22nd of December for clarity on the date of the UK budget.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“By forcing Scottish councils to set their tax rates on the same day the UK Government decides their budget, they are forcing councils to plan their spending completely blindfolded. It demonstrates the complete disdain the UK Government has for Scottish local authorities and the communities here which rely on their services.

“This could have profound consequences for services in North Lanarkshire, and it is completely disrespectful of devolution. Scotland appears to be an afterthought to the UK Government.

“It isn’t surprising that a Prime Minister who unlawfully prorogued Parliament has no respect for due process or the decision-making of Scottish councils.

“Boris Johnson has been more concerned with personal ambition and stuffing his friends into the unelected House of Lords than he has been with the running of local services here in North Lanarkshire.”